You Don’t Become Exceptional by Looking For Exceptions

Over and over again in life I am reminded that exceptional performance is not achieved by looking for exceptions.  I don’t feel very diplomatic today so, I’ll just say it like I see it.  I find it really tiring to deal with people who want “great” results but don’t want to put in “great” effort.  I honestly think that if people spent half as much time focusing on the fundamentals of success in the areas they are interested in – they would get twice the results of what they are currently getting.  Instead, I see way too many people searching for ideas and then arguing with people about what works (especially people who have already achieved success in that area).

Earlier this year I read an article by a friend of mine who was talking about Tony Alessandra’s Platinum Rule (treat people the way ‘they’ want to be treated, not the way ‘you’ want to be treated).  His piece was well written about Tony’s material.  Then, some guy posted a comment saying this was a horrible idea because people don’t always know what’s best for them.  Really?  That seemed crazy to me but, maybe I was overreacting.  I thought I’d check some of this guy’s other writings.  I started looking at his comments on other people’s postings and he was ALWAYS the guy taking the opposing position.  He disagreed with virtually everyone about virtually everything.  I then started looking at his original postings and discovered he was a total loser!  He clearly jumped from business to business and didn’t appear to be successful at anything.  The best thing this guy seemed to do was. . . wait for it, wait for it – yes, argue about everything.

Soon after I read my friend’s article about the Platinum Rule, I received an email from someone who visited some networking groups and wrote me an email saying:

“I am interested in how I can provide my extensive list of contacts to a local networking group without having to attend the weekly meetings… we can [only] attend once a month to a meeting… but we still [want to] adopt the groups ethos and principles of such a well structured program.”

His request got me thinking…

I’d like to win the Tour De France but, I don’t like all that peddling. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to win an Olympic medal but come on, is all that conditioning really necessary? I would have liked to become a medical doctor but, can I do it without all the blood and internal organ stuff… yuk! I would love, really love, to be a military General – but boot camp? Really, do I have to do boot camp? But, most coveted of all – a Nobel Peace prize. That would truly be amazing. But, must I change the world in some important way?  Surely, there is something less I can do but still get the same results – right?

If only wishing made it so, but it doesn’t. 

Looking for exceptions to what’s been proven to work seems to be the norm.  However, those who go around constantly searching for exceptions to validate reasons why the disciplined hard work that has made others successful won’t work for them will, in my experience, only find one overriding truth–the exceptional people who have achieved success through consistent, disciplined action are, in fact, the only real exceptions to the norm..

Have you seen people like I’m describing here?  If so, tell us the story.   I can’t be the only person who sees this… right?


11 thoughts on “You Don’t Become Exceptional by Looking For Exceptions

  1. Great post, Ivan !

    I see people like you describe every single day…

    They want to win, but without risks and efforts…

    Nobody can help them… As you wisely say, they are just focused in arguing and beeing against the whole Universe…

    I will be lucky if from 1 million I can wake up 1 of them… if he let me show him/her how blind she/he is on this matter…



  2. Love the post! I see this all the time. I see it in the teenagers who want to be famous, but don’t want to put in the work. I see it with business owners who want to make more money but won’t take advantage of continuing education or classes and seminars on how to effectively network.

    And I see it in BNI members who are constantly sending subs, not doing one to ones, not Learning More to Earn More.

  3. What a great and very recognisable post Dr Misner. I dont come across many people like that as my natural habitat is positive and happy people, but every now and again (yesterday for example), one of those types of people crosses my path. And I change direction to avoid! Regards, Shabbir Halai CMIOSH

  4. A very enjoyable read.

    There was once a business consultant who wanted to go into business with me. When he painted his picture of being successful, it was one of being paid millions while laying on a beach, sipping margaritas (while other people did the work). I thought to myself,”What idiot would pay me millions to lay on beach for them?” (I’m no glamour model, of course)

    (Laying on a beach) = (Paid millions), didn’t add up somehow. I decided the guy was a great learning experience and moved on.

    I believe this was an exceptional case adults among adults (pun intended). Maybe it’s a culturally specific English mentality, but there’s a lot of people who don’t believe you can achieve anything exceptional in life anyway… so why put in the effort? I prefer to not associate with these people as they’re a de-motivational influence and would have you believe you’re wasting your time. and energy.

    Always surround yourself with positive people (and positive includes being positive about hard work) and getting what you want in life by doing the right things.

    Regards, Terence

  5. “The secret to success without hard work is still a secret”

    This post was well timed- I met a guy earlier today and talked to him for 5 minutes. He then wanted me to connect him with everbody I know! Yikes! You have to invest lots of time and energy to achieve your goals. You must keep learning to keep earning!

    Shawn McCarthy

  6. Hi Shawn,

    There seems to be a lot of this “networking vampire” theme going around on Ivan’s blogs. I’ve got a question to ask about how we should react in these situations: How can we help these people? Should we always run away as quickly as possible, or are some of these people just in need of a little networking education?

    Has anyone got a tactful comment that could be made to these people which might send them down the right route? You could talk to them like you’ve mistaken them for considering you a networking guru and that that is how you can help them: “Well, I tend to find that getting contacts like that is really about building relationships, helping others and the using the V-C-P process. For instance, you should think of meeting people at a networking event as leading to a cup of coffee at a later date…” Any other ideas anyone, about how to react positively to bad networkers without feeling open to being exploited by others?

    Would love to hear your comments (including Ivan’s), Terence

  7. I don’t think it’s completely correct to dismiss these people as they may just not have a grasp of networking etiquette yet. If someone wants you to just give them an list of prospects, let them know how much time and effort you put into building those relationships. Then agree to keep them in mind when you speak with people in your network. Let him/her know that you build relationships through referrals and you’ll try your best not to forget about them in the mean time. Also, if they want to increase the chance of getting into your network, they should find some referrals for you (which will in turn give you more of a reason to find them some business).

    I am a young professional, lacking the experience that most of you probably have obtained. I am quickly learning that the social skills I developed in High School and College are almost more important than the content of those classes. The saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is proving to be my favorite cliche.
    PS. This blog has been very informative Ivan, I appreciate every new post.

    1. There’s something really beginning to come across in these comments and that is that some people seem to be pretty forthright in trying to obtain instant referrals within minutes of meeting someone. I’ve bumped into people whilst networking who either want my services directly or who offer a referral if they’re impressed enough at what I say within those few minutes (I must be saying something right). It’s not what I would define as ‘networking’, but it is a great bonus on the side if I’m lucky enough. However, I’d never work a room, trying to pry instant referrals from delegates. I think like a lot of people, I feel like I need to pass the first referral, anyway. Obviously there are those who think the other way about. The other thing that has slowly sunk in, is that if someone is a really pro networker, they don’t want to waste valuable networking minutes with a dead end, which is what a ‘networking vampire’ presumably is.

      Many thanks, Terence.

  8. Wow! That’s an awesome revelation and great article. I won’t say that I have come across people like this while I have; reading this turned the table for me. It is what I needed to hear at this point as it clearly pointed to me and my view on things. Not to be a negative Nancy. I am one to like to get others to see things from two points of view and gew up in the 70’s where protesAt was king. No there is a paradign where I think at times it can come across negative. **Approach Changer**

  9. “Then, some guy posted a comment saying this was a horrible idea because people don’t always know what’s best for them.”

    Odd thing to say. It may be true that people often don’t know that, but most of us appreciate it when someone can help us, objectively and without being self-serving, to figure out what’s best for us. Isn’t that the whole point? To help others decide what will work for them, and if it brings in some business, so much the better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *